Amid growing public pressure over rising prices of goods and services, the Nepal government on Saturday decided to cut fuel prices substantially, Xinhua reported.
The prices of petrol and diesel shall be cut by 20 Nepali rupees (16 US cents) and 29 rupees (23 cents) per litre respectively from Saturday midnight, Minister for industry, commerce and supplies, Dilendra Prasad Badu said. "Due to increasing prices of petroleum products, prices of essential goods have gone up in the market which has heavily affected the general lives of the people," he added.
According to Xinhua, the petrol and diesel prices will go down to 179 rupees (1.4 US dollars) and 163 rupees (1.3 dollars) per litre, respectively."It is not the final solution but it is an effort to give some relief to the people," Badu said, as sporadic protests have broken out against hiking fuel prices in recent days.
In Nepal's central bank, the year-on-year consumer price index jumped to a staggering 7.87 per cent in May, hitting a 69-month high. It was 3.65 per cent in May last year, Xinhua stated citing Nepal Rastra Bank.
Petroleum products are the single largest import item for Nepal. During the initial 11 months of the current fiscal year which ends in mid-July, Nepal imported petroleum products worth 281.61 billion rupees (2.24 billion dollars), accounting for some 16 per cent of its total imports during the period, as per the figures from the Department of Customs.
In the wake of the petrol price hike in the Himalayan region, several protestors clashed with police near the parliament while protesting against the recent petrol price hike.They marched towards parliament with live torches in their hands and raised anti-government slogans demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
Police resorted to the use of force as the agitating side tried to enter the lane with heavy traffic with live torches. The protestors hit back by throwing stones at security forces and damaged a government-owned vehicle which was passing by the protest spot.
On Monday, the House Speaker had ruled the government to come forward with a reason for the unprecedented hike in petroleum prices after members of parliament demanded an answer from the government. State syndicate, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has raised the price of petrol to Rs 199 per litre and diesel to Rs 192 with effect past Sunday midnight.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has stated the Russia-Ukraine War is the sole reason affecting the international fuel market and prices were adjusted in line with the international market.